Saturday, July 31, 2010


At Veggieville in Idlewild, just down the road from our cabin in northern Michigan, and in fruit stands all around the state, the tables are heaped high with deep, dark, juicy blueberries. Not surprising, since Michigan is the number one producer of high-bush blueberries in the United States. First domesticated in the early 1900s, blueberries are native to North America. Although they are produced worldwide, the United States and Canada account for 73 percent (489 million pounds) of the world's blueberry production. (U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council figures.) 

For centuries, blueberries  were a staple of the diets of the indigenous people of North America. Fresh blueberries were baked into cakes topped with maple syrup (another Michigan delicacy) or were dried to enjoy during the long, cold Michigan winters. Wild, tart, intensely-flavored blueberries are still out there in the bogs and forests of Michigan, where members of the Michigan Potawatami tribe once foraged for them. They're free for the picking, but they're much smaller than the cultivated ones so it takes a long time and a strong back to fill your bucket. 

Whether cultivated or wild, blueberries are good and good for you as your mom might say - low fat, sodium free and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They are great by the handful, topping your cereal or bursting out of muffins - and who could argue with a fresh blueberry pie. As far as I'm concerned, however, there is nothing better on a hot summer day than a cup of homemade blueberry sorbet. 

Here's my recipe. Try it.  It's easy. (If you don't live in blueberry country, the recipe works just as well with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or other berries that grow in your part of the world.)


4 cups of blueberries, washed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/1/2 cups water
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar 
(I like tart sorbet so I use the lesser amount)

1. Purée the blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth or leave a little chunky if you prefer. Stir in the orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla.

2. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat,stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue heating until just before it boils.

3. Whisk the syrup into the blueberry mixture and let it cool. Transfer it to an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions. I have an inexpensive hand-cranked Donvier model, but you can make sorbet without an ice cream maker. Just put the blueberry mixture in a shallow pan or ice cube trays, put in the freezer and whip the mixture from time to time as it freezes.  

4. Top with a sprig of mint and enjoy.  If you don't eat it all in one sitting, be sure to take the remaining sorbet out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator about an hour before you want to serve it.

To see more photos, click here.


Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor


  1. Looks delicious, Geraldine! I picked blueberries one summer in a bucolic field, and was paid by the pint--I made about $600/week that summer, when I was young. I did a good job so farmers all over the area "requested" me. I have fond memories of hearing roosters crow and avoiding bushes where baby birds were nesting. I guess now I can add "migrant worker" to my resume. I'll have to make some of your sorbet--I love the juices--sounds wonderful. We often make lemon-blueberry pancakes, too, on weekends.

  2. The pancakes sound delicious. How about giving us the recipe?

  3. It is so amazing how you make the blue berries into a beautiful Sorbet. I was so amazed in what you do. I wish I can also do that perfectly. I am planning to try it this coming weekend.


Thanks for your comments.